2014 Ryder Cup – European Captain’s Picks

The Ryder Cup rosters will be officially rounded out today. While we will have to wait until 6:00 p.m. EST to find out the players U.S. Captain Tom Watson has chosen to take to Gleneagles, Paul McGinley’s press conference was held this morning.

The nine automatic qualifiers have been set for a few weeks now.  The European team based on automatic bids are:

  • Rory McIlroy
  • Henrik Stenson
  • Victor Dubuisson
  • Jamie Donaldson
  • Thomas Bjorn
  • Sergio Garcia
  • Martin Kaymer
  • Justin Rose
  • Graeme McDowell

It’s a formidable team that should show up in Scotland as heavy favorites.  Joining the list of players above at the PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles will be Stephen Gallacher, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood as McGinley’s three wild card picks.

This guy...
This guy…

Poulter surprises absolutely no one.  A Ryder Cup Sunday singles match awakens something in Poulter seldom seen in typical PGA and European PGA Tour events.  He turns into a bulging-eyed birdie machine every two years during this event having won 12 of 15 matches and can be credited for sparking Europe’s remarkable comeback two years ago in Chicago.

Lee Westwood made his Ryder Cup debut in 1997 at Valderrama and has played in every Cup since.  He isn’t playing his best at the moment but his pick is not surprising either.  His experience and personality will be an asset to the European squad.

Scotland’s own Stephen Gallacher could have made the only difficult decision McGinley encountered much, much easier this past weekend.  If you were tuned into the Golf Channel early Sunday morning, you watched the drama play out as Gallacher needed a 2nd place finish at the Italian Open to qualify for the Ryder Cup automatically on points.  Gallacher finished exactly one stroke out of 2nd place leaving him only 1.61 points shy of automatically representing Europe in his home country.

McGinley was left to decide between picking Gallacher as a rookie fresh off a strong showing, or a man who has never experienced defeat as a member of the European Team in his 4 Ryder Cups and also has never lost a foursomes match in Luke Donald.

The only difficult decision wasn’t really that tough when you look at how poorly Donald has been playing lately.  Since finishing 2nd at the RBC Heritage back in April, Donald hasn’t even sniffed the top 25 on the PGA Tour.  In fact in his 9 PGA events since the RBC, he has broken 70 only 7 times including 3 missed cuts.

It’s one thing to expect the Ryder Cup to recharge your golf batteries, but people are questioning Donald’s confidence at this point.  He could have made his own statement this weekend at the Deutsche Bank Championship, but a T57 finish sealed the decision.  Gallacher will make his debut at 39 years old for Europe.

Ryder Cup 2014Those are the 12 men that will defend the Ryder Cup for Europe in Scotland just a few weeks from now.  We will hear from Tom Watson to complete the rosters in just a few hours.